Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gifted (Donovan Circus #1) by Liz Long Review + GIVEAWAY

Hello readers and Happy Wednesday to ya! I'm coming down from my high after the amazing response I received from my #TopeReads2014 post I did yesterday (check it out by clicking here) and wanted to keep the fun going with another awesome post for you guys today! Today I am going to be reviewing for you guys an awesome novel by one of the fantastic indie authors I had the great pleasure of meeting at UtopYA a couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Liz Long! While this isn't Liz's newest novel, it is her debut novel and the first in a series I HAD to check out! I'll explain just why later. Today, we're checking out Gifted by Liz Long! Never heard of it? That's okay, because by the end, I can promise you you'll be wanting to know you YOU can get your hands on a copy for yourself!

First off, let's start off with the official synopsis and cover for Gifted!

Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.

Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be: new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.

When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.

 **Add Gifted on Goodreads**

Can we talk about this cover for just a second. How cool is that?! Seriously one of the coolest and most unique covers I have ever seen. Ultimately what spoke to me while checking out Gifted! Cover is circus-themed, fireball front and center. what more could you ask for? Seriously. Going on my list of favorite book covers! If I ever write a book, I know who I'm contacting, just saying!

Now that we've read the synopsis and that AMAZING book cover, let's learn a little bit about out author, Liz Long:

Liz Long

Liz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media editor includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.

Her first book, Gifted, is the first book in the Donovan Circus series. Burned is the second adventure. Her second book Witch Hearts, a story about a serial killer hunting witches for their powers, is available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website:

Find Liz Long

Before we get to the awesomeness of my thoughts on Gifted, I have two videos I would like to share with you! First: the official book trailer for Gifted!


The second video I have to share with you guys is a real treat. This Google hangout actually took place just this evening and features Liz reading an excerpt from Gifted as well as answering questions about the series from bloggers! Very cool insight and way to hear all about Gifted from the author!



My Thoughts on Gifted:

As I type this I have JUST finished Gifted and have so much to say I can't hardly get it all down in time. Let me just say this: I am completely and utterly speechless. I love paranormal, I love New Adult fiction, and I LOVE anything circus themed but holy-hell Batman, I was NOT expecting that read to effect me the way it did. Woah. Seriously. If I was to do a Top 5 Reads of 2014 (that weren't necessarily publishing in 2014) Gifted would be VERY high on that list. Okay, let me calm down and start from the beginning.

Circus life is one of my very favorite things to learn about. As a historian, I have always been drawn into the history of the American circus. I'm not going to go into a rant here, but lets just say that circus life has had one long and interesting history over the past two centuries. Whenever I think of a circus theme or a side show or "freaks", my mind immediately goes to a 1930's-ish vibe with sideshows and sword swallowers and bearded ladies and I love it! Has anyone seen that movie Freaks? Seriously the scariest movie I have ever seen, but anyways. I. Love. Circus. History. This is why I was drawn to Gifted. At UtopYA I was literally walking down the hallway and saw Liz's circus themed table and literally stopped in my tracks and walked up to her and said "is your book about a circus'". THAT'S how drawn in I was. Gifted, however proved to be way more special than even I thought.

The first thing that shocked me about Gifted was it's setting. Not that it takes place in a circus, but the time period. While the specific date could be argued, it takes place in a relatively modern time period. While there is no discussion of cell phones, there are discussions of video games and nice RV campers that definitely give the book a modern feel. I have never read a modern day circus themed anything. That was a HUGE plus for me.

Secondly, the characters were AMAZING. Okay. First we have Lucy, our main female character who is this awesome "fiery" redheaded, 24 year old firestarter who is returning to Donovan Circus to start over. Upon arriving we meet Sheffield Donovan, ringleader for the circus with a few secrets of his own. Later we meet fellow firestarters Nikolas and Keegan (also good-guy love interest), the Greek room mate and runner, Delia (I read all of her dialogue with an accent, darn my year of Russian), Finley the shapeshifter, Bianca the transporter, Brooklyn the telepath, and a whole host of other amazing characters with some awesome powers like controlling the elements (a personal favorite of mine), telekinesis, and SO MANY MORE! Oh by the way, did I mention Gabriel? No. Oh yeah, well, he just happens to be the bad boy love interest who may end up being the coolest character in the book and has a passive power, he's an Empath! Crazy right? Imagine what this cast of characters do when pitted against one of the most most evil of book villains I have read in ages! Yes. This is definitely a read you wont regret.

Many of the review claim it's like X-Men meets the circus, well guess what everyone? X-Men is quite possibly the most amazing thing in the world, in my book. You probably won't meet a bigger X-Men fan than me. We've actually talked about this before on one of my Chelsea Fine posts (because she is a fellow X-Men fan as well)!  Those reviewers were spot-on! And to talk of Long's writing? Any author who can write an amazing New Adult paranormal fantasy novel and include as many superhero and Star Wars references as she was able to is definitely a plus in my book! I particularly enjoyed the entire scene devoted to conversations about the casts favorite superheroes including some nods to one of my favorite X-Men who would actually make a lot of sense in this novel: John Allerdyce (bonus points if you know who he is without looking it up). Many may look at this and think "how could this possibly be a NA read?". Well, I won't spoil any plotlines, but Long is quite the word wizard. She gifts us this fantasy filled world and then throws in some very adult elements such as sexual abuse and inhumane and ruthless murder. Got your attention now? So while this may seem like a fun YA read, don't let it fool you! I was pleasantly surprised! There is also drinking and lots of smoking (it's a circus, d'uh) just in case you still thought it was a YA. Don't let it deter you though!

As many of you guys know, I love and support the NA genre to the fullest but have had an awful time as of late coping with the sudden direction the genre has taken. What started out as a fun new genre about the experiences of college age adults (18-26ish) has now essentially turned into YA+Explicit Sex. That's not how I roll. I am all about a romance in a novel, but I don't want to read a story where the romance is the story! Gifted is EXACTLY what I am looking for. If you guys listened to the video above you will have heard Liz describe Gifted in two ways: first it's an adventure and second it's a mystery. No talk of it being a romance at all. This is a perfect read for any guys out there who are looking for a read to enter into the NA genre! While there is a romance/love-triangle in the story, it is very well written (perhaps a little one sided, or maybe that was just me)! It does not lead the story, but it does build the storyline in some very important ways. Seriously guys. I can't say enough about what this novel/series could be doing for the NA genre with enough help from readers and bloggers!

The storyline of the novel actually finished up with a very nice ending that paves the way for several more books in the series. While I have only read the first, I will be starting book two, Burned, immediately. After speaking with Long, I have learned that there is a draft of book three and the potential for several more in the series. I can't speak for anyone else, but I will say with certainty that this fanboy will be reading every one of them. Kudos to Long on her debut novel. I have been thoroughly impressed! Another thing I really could not stop thinking about while reading this is the enormous possibilities this series have if it were adapted into a television show. I often think about that with books and think that this would DEFINITELY go over great as a TV series. To any TV people out there *flashing light here*! All-in-all a five star read for me over here. I don't have a rating system in place here, but this book is pretty doggone high on my favorites list right now! Check it out everyone, you will not be disappointed!


Alright guys, now that you've read all about Gifted, you probably want to know where you can get your hands on a copy for yourself! As of right now the book is available in both ebook and print format from Amazon! Here's a promo graphic for where you can get your copy of Gifted today! Feel free to share/use this graphic! 

Click this little guy to order your copy of Gifted now!

What would an awesome review be without an even more awesome giveaway to follow? You read that right, it's GIVEAWAY time!! Up for grabs this time are 2 ebooks of Gifted! 4 super easy entries available. You guys know the routine! Fill out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright guys, that's all I have for you on the topic of Gifted by the amazing Liz Long! I would really love to hear from anyone who reads this incredible novel so we can talk all about it! After you read it be sure to review it on both Amazon and Goodreads! Review always are huge helps to authors. Recommend this to friends, they won't be disappointed! Until next time, Happy Reading!


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